Connecting local responses around the world
“What is our motivation? What drives us at work? What do we get out of our journey?” These are questions for our reflection this week after a nun shared her motivation and challenges in journeying with under-aged girls exploited for prostitution.
So what is mine? Shortly after I joined Beyond Social Service last June, I fell sick so often and I wonder why. Looking back, I realised that one of the reasons was because I was not emotionally ready to handle the multiple challenges faced by families we serve. I was overwhelmed by their problems and I did not know how to manage them.
It was not until last October, when I was invited to a SALT visit to observe a group of facilitators at work that I witnessed the positive energy that grip this community. They shared their pains but also they dare to dream. Tears were shed and joys of laugher were heard. I too was enriched, renewed and empowered by their sharing. There was hope for me to remain, to learn from these people we serve.
One inspiring example was Mdm A, a single-mother with 7 children whose husbands have abandoned her and her 7 children. She shared how she overcame her challenges, from being a service user to a leader within her own community. She acknowledged that those who journeyed with her played a vital role in helping her stand up. They believed in her and affirmed that she has strengths which she never knew. Her journey of healing and transformation began only when she herself believed that this was possible and took steps to move her life forward.
Just two week ago, I accompanied my colleague for a home visit to a 12-year old youth, with 4 young siblings from a single-parent family. I was pleasantly surprised to see Mdm A there. She revealed that she took her afternoon off from her own family, to be a care-giver to these young children when they return from school. She volunteered to cook, clean the house, fetch the young children from childcare. She wanted to ensure that these children have an adult at home to care for them when their single parent was at work. Mdm A was able to empathize with the pain of others and has extended her compassionate heart to journey with her friend. I admire her inner resilient and courage to close her past and with a heart of gratitude, for her generous contributions to the community. She is an inspiration.
I applaud my colleague(s) who has/have patiently journeying with Mdm A. Consciously or unconsciously, they have applied SALT in their work by Supporting, Affirming, Listening, Linking her to resources so that she could be Transformed and in-turn Transfer her joy and share her talents with others.
So you may ask what my motivation at work is, what drives me and what I get out of my journey. These are my reply. (1) To be honest, money, to meet my basic living expenses and the hope to have enough for rainy days and old age and not be dependent on the welfare scheme of the society. (2) The opportunity to learn and grow. Life always throws many surprises at us that we may not be able to handle. I am grateful for the many inspiring stories this job offers for my personal growth. (3) To become a better human, to be able to tell myself at deathbed that I have completed the race with much joy, sharing life and love with my family and those at work.
For now, my journey continues as I learn to smell the flowers amidst the challenges.